TORONTO - In signing Christian Hanson two years ago, the Maple Leafs added a player whose father had made a name for himself in a hockey movie.
Ditto for Tyler Biggs, whose dad, Don, was a stuntman in the 1986 flick Youngblood.
Former Oshawa General Don Biggs was a young player on the Springfield Indians at the time and the cast included future Leafs Steve Thomas and Peter Zezel.
“I started watching that movie a lot younger than most people do,” a grinning Tyler told LeafsTV after the Leafs made the winger their first pick Friday at the NHL draft. “It’s still something we throw jabs at each other about.”
The hairstyles of 25 years ago are certainly different, but so are the comparative measurements of father and son. Don was a 5-foot-8, 180-pound superpest, while Tyler is 6-foot-2, 210 and if provoked, he’d just as soon drop the gloves than bother with a war of attrition. Which is why general manager Brian Burke liked him enough to trade up to 22 in the draft. That’s also the sweater number Tyler hopes to wear one day as a Leaf, his dad’s number, though he’ll be starting with it at Miami (Ohio) University in September.
Biggs managed to clear 100 penalty minutes in 48 games in the USHL and the supposedly tame U.S. national team development program.
He scored 17 goals as well, emulating his father’s touch. Don played 17 years in the minors and was in the 25-goal range in most, getting 54 one year in Binghamton.
Don is from Mississauga, while Tyler was born during the former’s stint with the IHL Cincinnati Cyclones. Tyler moved back to the GTA to play a year, still makes frequent trips back and shares his father’s love of the Leafs. But he remains proud of what side of the border he calls home. He had the overtime winning goal for the U.S. against Canada at the under-18 worlds in Germany last April.
“Something comes out, a different mentality, when you play international hockey,” Tyler said. “I love (facing) Canada, they play my style, and you kind of want to push back and give it right to them.”